Monday, March 28, 2022

Academy 2022


It was not my intention to do a follow up article about the Academy Awards. After all, I had already devoted weeks to culling through what… at best…was a mediocre collection of eligible films, reviewing them, and writing commentary, over a period of weeks.

“‘Nuff said,” was how I felt about it. And I would not fall for the flattery of my friends who all seem to think I could do a better job of producing the Academy Award show for ABC then the actual guys and gals who do it. News flash: I could not… (although I do have notes on how it might be improved, which might well begin with having all potential producers being required to watch Ben Mankiewicz on TCM during that platform’s month-long run-up to Oscar night).

The fact is I just do not have any interest in writing a column about what my fellow Academy members have or have not done. Days go by, post the awards show, where I hunker down at home to avoid the incessant questioning of what it was I thought about some particular award, or the show itself.

I have almost never agreed with who the Academy honors in the major categories… although I can almost always guess to whom it is they will give the award. I have been a member since I was in my twenties and here it is, 60 years later, and I still cannot fathom the thinking that goes into the votes of the major categories.

Truth to tell, I am invariably in sync with the technical awards… see my review on DUNE which got 7 Oscars, and probably should have won an 8th… (for best picture).

If you are going to give best picture salutes to Crash (2006) instead of that year’s Brokeback Mountain, then, I guess, Coda makes sense. I mean, they were nice little movies… very nicely made for TV movies… but are you really going to compare Crash and Coda, or even Marty (1955), for that matter, to a picture worthy of an award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences? Puhleeze.

I do not want to write about this. But, as long as I am here, let me tell you who I think really deserved an Academy Award this year:

Chris Rock. What a performance that was. What grace. What cool. And once again, the Academy did not notice.

Try to imagine how it might have gone differently:

What if Mr. Rock had decided to react, and punch back? What if the comedian had stood center stage and demanded that the hooligan actor who attacked him be removed from the theatre?

By behaving the way that he did, Chris Rock just may have prevented mayhem from occurring on the world’s television screens… He just maybe was responsible for saving an entire industry from embarrassment and reassessment.

It’s not that I am not concerned for Will Smith. He clearly needs help. But there are plenty of therapists in Hollywood who have experience with folks who have a God complex. He will be all right. He has a best-selling book, which now just might get a second printing. He has an Oscar, and even though he stepped all over Venus and Serena Williams’ moment… sullying their once in a lifetime event forever… trust me, Hollywood will be only too quick to forgive him.

There is a bright side to all of this: Be grateful it was not Amy Schumer who delivered that GI Jane joke. The world as we know it might have ended had Mr. Smith struck a white woman.

Denzel Washington had it right about when it is the Devil comes to visit. And I have it right about the Academy blowing it once again: they shoulda come up with an Oscar for Chris Rock.


Barney Rosenzweig

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